Walking Past the Cross
By Terrie C
Give me the Beat, Boys, and Free my Soul…
The sub-title of this post is lyrics from a song that, since my childhood, has never left my soul. It moves me so much, I’ve asked for it to be played on the day that my family and friends will gather to celebrate my life, and the true freeing of my own soul has occurred; my funeral. Music has always been my best friend. It plays a huge role in my life, and even in my self-expression. What does this topic have to do with my journey past the cross? Plenty, and I’ll tell you why. Anytime we make huge changes in our spiritual life, the ripple effect washes over our physical world, as well. As we adjust to learning how to unlearn, there are plenty of resources available. More and more people are digging into the Torah, and walking away from the church system every day. Via the internet, we can watch countless teachings, join groups that encourage and support us in our walk, and surround ourselves with people that are like minded (but not same minded) no matter how far away they are from us. But rarely is the subject of music addressed. With all the huge spiritual undertakings I have encountered, it may surprise you to learn that I really struggled in this area!! It’s something few people talk about on this Ancient Path, and something that all of us have to choose for ourselves. What music is playing on the “soundtrack” of our lives has an impact on our spirit, to be sure! Does it matter which music it is? Of course it matters! Everything matters.
It didn’t take me long when I crossed over from atheism into belief during my fortieth year on this earth to learn that some of the music I listened to simply had to go. My range of music was wide, I loved some music in every genre except opera (no offence to opera fans). Unfortunately it was wide enough to include artists who sang against everything I was learning in Scripture. I made the decision to not listen to anything that didn’t honor God. I still chuckle when I think of that morning. I was somewhere in Back-Woods, Georgia, the morning sunrise was just busting through my kitchen window, almost as if to illuminate the radio sitting on my counter. I walked slowly over to it, knowing it was a big moment for me. I turned it on and cranked the dial all the way left, and began searching for a station that played “Christian music”. The dial was all the way to the right by the time I found it. One station. There it was, playing full-blown churchy music, with organs blasting. For a this 1980s rock and roll loving, head-banging dancing girl, it was as much a shock as being taken from the freezer and being dropped in boiling water. I felt so guilty… all I could think was “UGH, UGH, YUCK, YUCK and BLAH!” But I was determined to honor my God with what music choices I made, and so I listened all day, every day.
When we moved out of the boonies, we got cable TV. There were music channels there that introduced me to “mainstream” Christian music. I was giddy! Woo-Hoo! Music that honors God AND has a guitar and drums in the band. Life was good! Since the doctrine I sat under taught that all are doomed except those who proclaim Jesus as savior, I certainly didn’t want to listen to music from doomed artists! I thought the devil could use it to trap me and devour me. (I laughed as I typed that, just so you know. Oh, what I used to believe!) I didn’t listen to anything else after that, not even the great music from my past that is literally part of who I am. I happily went about my days while artists like Third Day, Tobymac, Kutless and Tenth Avenue North kept my toe tapping and my spirits high. It wasn’t until I began the study to find Jesus (Yeshua) in the Tanakh (“Old Testament”) that I started noticing the music I was listening to was giving glory, honor and praise to a name that wasn’t God’s. I clearly remember the day I shut that music off, too. I was driving along with the window down and the heater blasting, thinking on some things with the music low. Suddenly, the volume on my thoughts was turned down and a stanza from the song playing was amplified. It hit me like a ton of bricks, and it went like this: “I’m coming back to the heart of worship, and it’s all about you, Jeeesuuuus.” There it was, Christianity in a nutshell. I turned that dial quick! It is not, and has never been, about anything or anyone but YHVH! Even the coming Messiah will only be revered, not worshipped. All worship belongs to God, He does not share His glory.
I love how my Creator wastes nothing! When I turned the radio dial off that Christian music that night, the very next station that tuned in was playing the song in my post title. I sang along as loud as I could, with tears streaming down my face. It had been so long since I listened to my favorite song! I understood in that moment that I was allowed to love all kinds of music with the knowledge that life and death are set before me every day, even in the music I choose! If the lyrics are honoring life and love instead of anger and hate, it is for me to enjoy. I have to be honest, though, and admit that I miss “mainstream” worship music sometimes. It’s so moving to sing to sing aloud to my Maker! I’ve tried listening to different kinds of “Jewish music”. It brings back lots of fun childhood memories, and it’s quite enjoyable to me for a period of time, but it simply doesn’t “move me” in the way that music can and has moved me all my life. And so my search for new music that honors only God continues, even while I enjoy some old favorites that I had shelved for so many years. I can’t imagine that I’m the only believer who has struggled in the area of what music is suitable for our souls as we sojourn through this world with so many choices. This is why I decided to share my own struggle. With people leaving churchianity in droves, and not necessarily converting to Judaism, it won’t be long until music catches up with us, and we’ll have the option to enjoy the sounds we already love while giving glory, honor and praise to The One to whom it belongs. I, for one, can’t wait!
“See” you soon, friends, and play some great music today. Go ahead, sing along! I hope you didn’t think I wasn’t going to share my all-time favorite song with you, I love it too much not to share! Enjoy 🙂